Game 64 Preview: Lehigh Valley at St. John's

Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
Editor's Note - I'll have full coverage of tonight's Phantoms game against the St. John's IceCaps, live from Highland Park Hockey HQ!
The puck drops at 6:00 p.m. ET, but make sure you're following along on Twitter -> @TonyAndrock and Facebook (like the Facebook page!) for all the latest updates and information. 
Stay tuned here online after the game for a recap of the action. Don't forget to subscribe to Highland Park Hockey's YouTube channel for post-game interviews with players.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (40-19-4) are in Newfoundland, Canada for a pair of games in St. John's against the IceCaps starting Tuesday night at 6:00 p.m. ET (7:30 NT).

The IceCaps are riding a four-game win streak entering tonight's game, making a push towards the postseason in the North Division - currently in the fourth and final spot one point ahead of fifth place Utica entering Tuesday night's games.

For Lehigh Valley, the Phantoms are looking to continue to chip away at their magic number to clinch the franchise's first Calder Cup Playoffs berth - down to 20 points with 13 games left entering Tuesday's game with the IceCaps.

After the jump, a full preview of everything you need to know in advance of tonight's game.

Phantoms' Playoff Update - The Phantoms enter Tuesday's game three points behind the first place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Behind the Penguins and Phantoms are three teams - Providence, Bridgeport and Hershey - in the middle of a dog fight for one of four playoff positions atop the Atlantic Division. 

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms' magic number to clinch a berth in the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs is currently at 20 points. You can also keep track of the playoff races in the AHL's daily Playoff Primer.

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By The Numbers

LV: 63 games played, 40-19-4-0 = 84 points
2nd Place Atlantic Division
Streak: 1-0-0-0
Last Ten Games: 6-2-2-0

STJ: 64 games played, 31-25-7-1 = 70 points
4th Place North Division
Streak: 4-0-0-0
Last Ten Games: 7-2-1-0

Special Teams

Power Play

LV - 68-for-306: 22.2% = 6th in AHL
STJ - 44-for-246: 17.9% = 14th in AHL

Penalty Kill

LV - 200-for-239: 83.7% = 8th in AHL
STJ - 213-for-269: 79.2% = 26th in AHL

Leading Scorers

LV:  T.J. Brennan (63GP, 18G-33A), Greg Carey (63GP, 26G-19A) and Andy Miele (52GP, 8G-37A) and Colin McDonald (62GP, 22G-18A)

STJ: Chris Terry (46GP, 24G-30A), Charles Hudon (44GP, 23G-16A), Nikita Scherbak (55GP, 13G-23A) and Max Friberg (59GP, 10G-15A)

Starting Goaltenders

LV: Anthony Stolarz  (23GP, 15-7-0, 2.96 GAA, .909 SV%, 1 SO)
STJ: Charlie Lindgren (42GP, 21-16-5, 2.57 GAA, .914 SV%, 4 SO)

Season Series

Tonight marks the third of four scheduled meetings between the Phantoms and IceCaps this season. The two teams played a pair of games in Lehigh Valley back in February - with the Phantoms stealing two points in a come-from-behind win the first matchup and St. John's holding on for a 4-3 regulation win over the Phantoms.

After tonight's meeting, the Phantoms and IceCaps will complete their season series in the rematch at Mile One Centre on Wednesday night.

Season Series Schedule

Friday, February 10th: St. John's - 2 at Lehigh Valley - 4
Saturday, February 11th: St. John's - 4 at Lehigh Valley - 3
Tuesday, March 21st: Lehigh Valley at St. John's - 6:00 p.m. ET
Wednesday, March 22nd: Lehigh Valley at St. John's - 6:00 p.m. ET

Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Roster Notes

Anthony Stolarz, coming off an impressive performance in Wilkes-Barre last Saturday, should slot back between the pipes for Lehigh Valley tonight in St. John's. Regardless, both goaltenders are expected to get a start in St. John's with games in back-to-back nights.

The Philadelphia Flyers signed their 2014-3rd round draft pick, defenseman Mark Friedman, to an entry level contract beginning in the 2017-18 season. The former Bowling Green State Univeristy product, who tallied 26 points (eight goals, 18 assists) in 40 games this season in the WCHA, will join the Phantoms this weekend on a tryout contract for the remainder of the season.

Taylor Leier returned to the lineup Saturday in Wilkes-Barre after missing the previous 19 games with lingering symptoms of a concussion he suffered back in late January.

The latest casualty to the injury bug is Chris Conner, who did not travel with the team and missed the game with an injury per head coach Scott Gordon. As per usual, no further details were provided on Conner's status moving forward.

Defenseman Will O'Neill left early in the 1st period of Saturday's 4-1 win against Utica after an apparent upper body injury he sustained jamming his left hand/wrist after a fall into the boards.

Robert Hagg and Steven Swavely are also nearing returns to the lineup as both were skating at practice this week in red, no-contact jerseys. Hagg's injury was not as serious as initially feared, which is good news for the Phantoms with O'Neill out with an injury currently.

Boyd Gordon, who left in a Wednesday home game against Binghamton after a sliding BSens' forward crunched into his legs in the corner boards, was initially expected to miss a few weeks with a knee injury. He was seen at Friday night's game in Allentown walking with a knee brace over his suit pants.

Expected Scratches: Robert Hagg (lower body), Will O'Neill (upper body), Steven Swavely (upper body), Chris McCarthy (healthy), Boyd Gordon (lower body), Jesper Pettersson (healthy) and Mark Friedman (recently added on tryout contract)

Expected Lines:

Taylor Leier - Scott Laughton - Colin McDonald
Greg Carey - Corban Knight - Cole Bardreau
Danick Martel - Andy Miele - Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Tyrell Goulbourne - Radel Fazleev - Chris McCarthy

T.J. Brennan - Reece Willcox
Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Travis Sanheim - Max Lamarche

Anthony Stolarz - Alex Lyon

Recent Transactions

3/13: ADD - D Max Lamarche recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL)
3/13: ADD - D Jesper Pettersson recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL)
3/4: ADD - F Tyrell Goulbourne recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL)
3/1: DEL - F Jordan Weal recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
3/1: ADD - F Jordan Weal returned on loan from Philadelphia (NHL)
2/13: ADD - D Reece Willcox reassigned by Philadelphia (NHL) from Reading (ECHL)
2/12: DEL - D Reece Willcox reassigned by Philadelphia (NHL) to Reading (ECHL)
2/11: ADD - F Steven Swavely recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL)
2/10: ADD - F Chris McCarthy recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL)
2/10: DEL - F Jordan Weal recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)

Written by: Tony Androckitis, Twitter/Facebook


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